New study shows region’s children are generally healthy, but disparities reported by income and race

Parents in the Greater Cincinnati region report that their children are in excellent or very good overall health, according to data collected through the Child Well-Being Survey.

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When asked to rate their child’s health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, 8 in 10 (82%) parents and guardians in the region said their child’s health was excellent or very good. This is slightly lower than the national assessment, with 9 in 10 (90%) parents reporting that their child had very good or excellent health on the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A foundation of good health in childhood can lead to a long, productive life,” said O’dell Moreno Owens, M.D., M.P.H., President and CEO of Interact for Health. “The Child Well-Being Survey was designed to help leaders in our community better understand children’s health and how it’s impacted by factors such as environment and access to health care. This data can then be used to develop programs and drive policy change to improve the lives of children.”

Additional data from the survey will be released in the coming weeks, with analysis provided on topics ranging from health care coverage to social and emotional health to the prevalence of chronic diseases. The Child Well-Being Survey is a partnership between Interact for Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and is also supported by the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. This marks the fourth time kids’ health in the region was assessed, with the first Child Well-Being Survey taking place in 2000.

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“The Child Well-Being Survey provides us with important insights into the health and well-being of children across our region – where things are going well and what needs our attention,” said Andrew Beck, MD, MPH of Cincinnati Children’s.

The 2017 Child Well-Being Survey is funded by Interact for Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, with support from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati. It was conducted March 5-Aug. 9, 2017, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati.

A random sample of 2,757 adult caregivers from a 22-county region in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana was interviewed by telephone. In 95 of 100 cases, the estimates will be accurate to ± 1.9 percent.

There are other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording or context effects that can introduce error or bias. For more information about the Child Well-Being Survey, click here.

Health Disparities Affect Local Youth

Survey data show that certain conditions can have an impact on parents’ perceptions of their children’s health, with family income and race having a measurable influence.

Families with lower income levels were less likely to consider their children healthy, with 67% percent of those with incomes 100 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines and 74% of families earning between 100 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines reporting that their child was in good or excellent health. In comparison, families earning more than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines were more likely to consider their children healthy, with 89 percent of parents rating their child’s health as excellent or very good.

“These data demonstrate that poverty continues to prevent far too many children and families from achieving good health” said Ross Meyer, senior vice president of community impact for United Way of Greater Cincinnati. “Thus, we will continue to work together with Cincinnati Children’s, Interact for Health and other partners to improve the health and well-being of all children and families in our community, especially those in poverty.”

Assessments of health also varied among racial groups. Survey data show that 7 in 10 (73percent) African American children were considered to have excellent or very good health, compared to eight in 10 (84 percent) white children.

“With continued disparities present in our region, we must continue to work together to help our region’s children be the healthiest that they can possibly be,” said Beck.

Interact for Health is building healthy communities for all people. We serve as a catalyst for health and wellness by promoting healthy living through grants, education, research, policy and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that serves 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

More information is available here.

Interact for Health